Good Wednesday morning to you. I am spending this week on the road again in a beautiful city I love, San Francisco. With today being Ash Wednesday (and yesterday being Mardi Gras), if you are a party person it may be afternoon when you’re reading this. The thing that most people think of when they think of the season of Lent is giving up something. I have seen this theme played out in many movies. But what should we really be doing for Lent? In reading the Wikipedia information about it, there seems to be so much more to it than just “giving something up.”
Well in life we all need times of cleaning. That is where the idea of “spring cleaning” came from. That is also part of the season of Lent, the idea of prayer, repentance, Alms-giving and self-denial as part of a period of cleaning up. Maybe this year we should make a practice of cleaning something from our lives.
Today we are going to take a look at your time. How much time do you waste each day? How much have you wasted over the past week or year? We could always work harder and make our money back after we lose it; we could work to find love again after we lost it. But the one thing that you are not able to get back is the time you have spent. That time is gone. The only thing we can do is make sure it isn’t wasted, that we made the best use of it we could. We all get older, but getting wiser and making the way you spend your time is a personal choice.
So for this season of Lent, maybe you need to focus on cleaning out those things that are wasting your time. In my life, time and space are big things. If I am working on something like writing this post today I want to get the work done and out of the way as I have other things to do this day. I don’t want to waste it – especially not now, when I’m visiting a city I enjoy so much.
Many people say that you need to take things out of life, like watching TV, and that all the time you spend watching is a brain stealer. Gwynne’s cousin, Rich, used to call it a “time sucker” and got rid of his TV completely for many years. Well, you can learn to use the time you spend watching TV to make it valuable, by being selective about what you watch.
I actually sometimes use the TV as background at home when I’m working instead of always having headphones and music plugged into my ears. Since I frequently work at home, it can get a little quiet for me and the TV can fix that. This isn’t what I’m talking about here when I say TV wastes time. I can ignore the TV but many people (like Gwynne) find the TV so distracting anytime it’s on that she puts in headphones and music to tune it out if she doesn’t want to watch.
What I’m talking about is the role TV plays in your personal time. Maybe you need to learn to use that time to make your life better. Maybe you need to schedule date time with your spouse, or spend that TV time watching a movie with your kids or doing something else with your family. I spend many hours working, when I get free time I like to spend it my way and not necessarily alone.
Unfortunately I will spend almost a full day on planes and in airports this week. While traveling by plane I don’t have much control of what I get to do with my time, but I do use it to do some of the thinking and planning on upcoming topics, or typing out blog posts like this one. That is what I’m doing today: typing this out on a plane after sitting at one airport close to 4 hours to change planes. After we pulled away from the terminal, we sat on the tarmac for another half hour because of a weather delay. All I could do is use the time the best way I could under the circumstances. That is where I decided to do this post on using your time in a way that is best for you.
So I’ll leave you today with a two-fold challenge. First look for the areas of your life where you feel you could save time, or use your time in a better way. I’m talking about anything from using TV time as family time to using wasted time to accomplish other goals along the way. Over the next 40 days set up a step-by-step plan to put the new, time-saving habits into practice.
Second instead of looking to give up an extra sugar in your coffee or get rid of a donut from your diet during this Lenten period, maybe you could remove something that would give you more time in your life – time that you can use to improve your life in other ways, like exercising, finding personal prayer or reflection time, or doing some of those projects you keep putting off.
The one thing I have used over the years to gauge how much time I’m wasting is by asking the question “What does it really cost for you to do this?” When I was in the car cleaning business, I could detail a car top to bottom inside and out and have it looking like a new car in a matter of two to three hours depending on how much work it needed. I once had a lawyer tell me he liked to clean his car himself. One day we added up how much it really cost him at his hourly rate to take five hours out of his Saturday afternoon to clean his car.
I hope you find more time in your life this week of cleaning up and cleaning out.
I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach; it’s time to live your dream, to love what you do and those you share your life with. Get time back in your life to do what you want and be a RockStar in your world.